Hawaii-based photographer Diana Kim was first exposed to photography when she was yet a young girl. Her father used to own a photography studio and that’s how she started out in the craft.
She recalled some of her early memories as a child saying her father would often give her some candies whenever she and her mom would visit his place. “I had an insatiable craving for sweets and he would go behind my mother’s back and sneak me gummy bears and Ring Pops,” she fondly remembers.
Her parents separated when she was 5 and needless to say, she had a difficult childhood. She eventually had to live on different homes through the years such as her relatives and friends. At times, she even had to sleep in cars and parks. Despite it all, she stayed a survivor.
“I always thought of it as ‘roughing it,’ so it didn’t really bother me. My survival instincts were always strong.”
As part of a project, Kim started taking pictures of homeless people back in 2003.
According to Kim:
“I first started photographing the homeless community in my first year of college. I gravitated towards the homeless because in some ways I identified with their struggle. I knew what it meant to be discarded, to be neglected, and to not have the stability and economic freedom I wanted. Overall, I understood their struggle because I struggled in the same way.”
Unexpectedly, Diana Kim eventually found her father among the homeless.
9 years after she began the project, she was in for an unexpected surprise – she discovered her father, who has lost so much weight and have severe schizophrenia, among the homeless.
She approached him but he was not responsive. A stranger advised not to bother.
With some hesitation, she approached him but he was not very responsive. She tried very hard to catch his attention but she was told by a stranger not to bother because he just “stands there all the time.”
Kim didn’t want to give up on him. She knew she had to try.
Since then, the 30-year-old photographer has been doing her best to help rehabilitate her father and she documented his progress on her web blog.
Following a heart attack, her father eventually consented to go through a more intensive treatment.
This incident proved to be a blessing in disguise as her father became more willing to receive much-needed help and it led to bigger improvements
With Kim’s patience and love, she was able to rescue her dad.
The happy daughter reported:
“My dad spends a lot time with friends and is actively looking for a job. We recently completed an online application for a part-time job! He would love to be employed so he can earn a little bit of income and feel productive again. Got any leads?
It makes me happy to know that he is living a “normal life” again. It feels really, really good. And I want the same for others who are going through what I went through with my dad.”
Here she is having a casual chat with her dad:
Kim eventually turned to Kickstarter to seek much-needed funding for her photography project where she successfully raised a good amount.
It’s fascinating and heartwarming how this story ended. We couldn’t help but admire Kim for not giving up on her father. Kudos to her and to all children who love their parents sincerely!
You can check out her official website if you want to view more of her works.
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